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5 Things You Shouldn’t Do After A Dive

Ah, the surface interval, you’ve just been on an amazing dive, explored a shipwreck and seen some amazing wildlife but you can’t stay down forever. At some stage, you have to come back because you’ve run out of air or some other resource or you’re starting to get a bit cold, or you need to pee. But as soon as you end a dive you still need to behave, and there are some things that might seem fine but are actually a big no-no.

The first thing you need to not do is not Leave your kit all over the place, keep tidy and out of everybody’s way. Leaving your stuff everywhere is a quick way to lose and break stuff. But the actual things listed in today’s video are a tad more serious and most people don’t really consider these things when diving, granted one of them is taught pretty thoroughly in your dive course but the others are arguably just as important but they all are focussed on your decompression and just staying safe, to be honest.



So let’s take a look at 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do After A Dive

Warm up

Especially in cold climates, your first reaction after a cold dive is to warm your hands, get a hot cup of coffee, or hot chocolate and just warm up in general. A warm shower or hot tub might feel like a good idea but when you think about what it’s actually doing you may want to slow down a bit. Rapidly increasing your body temperature or one part in particular like your hands on a radiator is the fastest way to speed up your decompression in that area, and that can actually lead to a decompression illness because these gases can form bubbles.

When you see medical professionals throw those silver space blankets over people they’re not trying to warm them up as quickly as possible, those space blankets let your body warm itself up at its own rate and prevent further heat loss. You, unfortunately, need to warm up slowly just after a dive so dissolved gases in your tissues can slowly come out of solution at a safe rate. Jumping on the sun deck to top up your tan can increase this rate to the point where bubbles may form so try to warm up slowly wherever you are. 

Fly or go too far up

This one’s usually drummed into you in your diving course and you see it sometimes on medical dramas where the doctor’s on a plane and somebody falls ill. Turns out they were diving the day before and the drop in pressure on the plane, or even just going up a big hill or mountain, is enough to rapidly accelerate their decompression. If you’re diving at sea level then try to stay at sea level for a day or two before going up too far so you don’t decompress too fast.

The ambient pressure of your environment is the whole reason why we can’t ascend too fast on a dive and the pressure keeps dropping as we go up mountains and those dissolved gases in some of your tissues can take days to dissipate so don’t go booking flights, mountain hikes, zip line tours or anything up high too soon after your dive, give it 24 to 48hrs to be safe.

Hit the bar

Yup, sorry guys and girls, hands off that mini-fridge or bar stool, there can’t be any drinking after a dive. Well, clarification; do drink but only good hydrating stuff like water. Try to stay off alcohol as long as possible because alcohol has a blood-thinning effect and that’s not going to affect your decompression in a good way. It also dehydrates you, which, again, is bad for your decompression, impairs your movement and judgement, which can mask signs and symptoms of DCS, all on a moving boat with heavy expensive things that can fall over, man why do we drink alcohol again?

So yeah, if your first instinct is to crack open a beer after a dive then put it back in the fridge and grab the water next to it. The same for coffee, another diuretic, you can have some but remember to hydrate as much as possible after a dive. To stay safe after a dive you want to be fed and watered as much as possible so your body is working at 100% and isn’t struggling with anything.

Exert yourself

This is why I love scuba diving, everything about diving is basically an excuse to be lazy; don’t swim against the current, just turn it into a drift dive. After a dive, you need to take it easy, no running, no heavy lifting, just take it easy and let decompression happen. From my experience, very few divers look at their surface interval and think to themself “I could fit a gym session into this time”. 

While there doesn’t seem to be any concrete evidence to not go to the gym soon after a dive it’s widely recommended as a “Nah, don’t do that”. The gym can wait, if you have some excess energy that you feel the need to burn off then, I dunno, do some research on how to cure cancer or how to turn the world onto more renewable energy, don’t jump on the treadmill, it’s probably going to do you more bad than good just after a dive. Oh and this doesn’t give you the excuse that you can’t carry your tank back to the fill station or anything, just take it easy.

Take a Massage

Yeah, this one sucks too, I know. But when you look at the deep tissue massage leaflet and it promises deep relaxation and improved blood flow, darn it, no thank you. As with most of these, in case you have got the message yet: increased blood flow just after a dive is a bad thing… you can rub an achy shoulder and stretch a bit, but a full-body massage can release a lot of dissolved gases trapped in tissues that are now circulating around your system where they shouldn’t really be.

Feel free to light some incense or something, as long as it’s not too close to the Nitrox tanks or filling station or anything but sorry no massages after a dive.

Now, this list does make your surface interval sound pretty boring but there’s plenty of things that you can do. Like; fill in your logbook. Wash your dive kit and hang it up properly, check your emails. Nah, you can do things on your surface interval, just take it easy and remember that your dive, or at least your decompression doesn’t end when you hit the surface. But what more should you not do just after a dive? I know of a few more, I just want to test to see if you know… and what should you do just after a dive, let’s end on a positive note, thanks for watching and safe diving.